de-la-soul

Chris Daly pairs his doughnuts with daisy flavored IPA’s

Here we are, just wrapping up the Q1 books on 2014 hip-hop, and it’s been a mixed quarter for the iconic De La Soul, but the PotW experts still list this crew as a “must buy.” To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the seminal 3 Feet High and Rising back in February, the trio made nearly their entire catalog free for 25 hours on their website. While the resulting site crashes from too much traffic were to be expected, eyebrows were raised when it quickly was discovered that instead of hosting the masters, the Plugs instead posted illegal copies of their own albums from questionable overseas sites. Still, free is free, and haters gonna hate, so it’s kind of hard for me to complain at all.

Next up on their promised whirlwind release schedule comes Smell the DA.I.S.Y, showcasing old De La lyrics over J. Dilla beats. Before you think this is some hastily thrown together mash-up, however, let me assure you, it’s not. Pos, Trugoy and Mase spit older lyrics, but these are new and updated takes, with fresh flows and cadences from today, not simply lifted from the originals.

The project reminds me of the Police and their plans for their greatest hits album. While only one song ended up receiving the treatment, the initial idea was to re-record all their hits in different styles. Something similar and more successful occurs on “Smell.” To call this an album of remixes isn’t accurate, but even lapsed DLS fan should quickly recognize such classics as “Ooh,” “Oodles of O’s,” “Potholes in My Lawn,” “Fanatic of the B Word,” and others. In addition to more technical change-ups, there also are the obligatory Dilla shout-outs, but they feel organic, not just “This is a Dilla remix, remix, remix” DJ drops.

Depending on which online bulletin boards you peruse, certain folks are seeing this as some sort of improper use of JD’s beats, claiming his ghost should be left to rest in peace. However,I’d challenge those same biters to recognize that A) De La worked with Jay Dee back in the day, and therefore have as much “right” as anyone to keep his memory alive however they deem fit and B) As with the earlier catalog upload, the entire project was free, so I’m not sure how anyone is ripping off anyone. Furthermore, if you opted to snag your copy via Bit Torrent, you also got a free copy of a Dilla documentary and a bunch of wallpapers. For arguably the greatest hip-hop band of all times, that’s an awful lot of free love that nobody owed anyone.

But wait, there’s more! The Long Island lyricists have two more projects on tap for 2014, “Premiem Soul on the Rocks,” an EP produced by Pete Rock and DJ Premier, and “You’re Welcome,” a brand new LP of presumably new material. Projections continue to look strong for the duration of ’14, gang. It’s time to get back into DA Inner Sound, Y’all.

Download the mixtape via WeAreDeLaSoul.com




We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!